LOVE STREAMS (1984, USA)
directed by: John Cassavetes

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IMDB link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0087644

Submitted by Charley Leary on 2006-10-25

Charley Leary's comment:
Camera movement data


Name:
pan
tilt
track
crane
static
zoom
PanTilt
TrakPan
Number of shots:
94
31
31
3
249
22
69
12
Length(min):
25.02
7.38
12.29
2.51
42.78
8.99
28.38
5.09
ASL(sec):
16
14.3
23.8
50.3
10.3
24.5
24.7
25.4
MSL 9.8 8.4 12.9 46.9 6.5 21.1 16.9 16.9
MSL/ASL
0.61
0.59
0.54
0.93
0.63
0.86
0.68
0.66
StDev 15.1 14.1 28.3 32.1 10.9 20.5 23.2 20.6
Min 1.6 1.7 0.2 12.7 0.9 0.3 2.8 3.9
Max 72.8 60 137.6 91.2 85 106 108.8 80.1
CV 0.94 0.99 1.19 0.64 1.06 0.83 0.94 0.81
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Step: Vertical resolution: Height:
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Users' comments:

Author: Yuri Tsivian Date: 2006-10-25

Two things that conform to one's expectations about the "mobile framing : cuting tempo" correlation in Charley's picture is that a) the static shots have the lowest asl; b) that the crane shot asl is almost five times higher. These data conform to the commonsense assumption (something that future filmmakers are taught, I am sure, in Production 101) that
1) the camera movement is only justified if it substitutes two or more static shots with different shot scales or setup angles;
2) that you only rent the expensive crane when, let's say, you want to cover 5 setups or more;
3) that static shots are easier to cut faster, for there are less continuity rules to be observed.

Now, all these are Classical Hollywood wisdoms, and neither Cassavetes as a director, nor 1984 as a period must conform to this paradigm, but to believe Charley's numbers, here they do. Still, only partly. Change Height to 1000. Uncheck all categories but the crane, and you'll see that the first of the three crane shots is pretty short, below the average. Uncheck the crane and check the static, and you'll see that around 50 minutes into the film there is one that is quite long. Now, if Charley chooses to go back to the film and find out the narrative, visual, acting-related, etc. reasons behind these two anomalies he'll be one step closer to explaining Cassavetes to us. Likewise, he can find out tell us the whole secret about that embarassingly long zoom -- probably, the record take of this film.


Author: Charley Leary Date: 2006-10-26

A preliminary reply to Yuri's comments above:

First and foremost, I made a mistake: a crane wasn't used. I thought I had seen a crane among the production stills/"behind the scenes" footage of the film, but I just reviewed two documentaries made on the set of this film and couldn't find one. (These documentaries are I'M ALMOST NOT CRAZY [dir. Michael Ventura] and an episode for the French television series CINEMA CINEMA [Claude Ventura and Philippe Garnier]).

Let me go over the 3 shots I erroneously identified as crane shots:

1. Occurs at 1:19:58-1:20:08 - This is actually a tilt and slight pan, shot from a second-story window, looking down.

Much of this film was shot at Cassavetes' own home. I've never been there, but am am trying to sketch a rough layout of the home (from the images of it in this film and in others) and then indicate the positions of the camera setups. One never gets a master-shot, total view of the house -- and I didn't think, when measuring this crane shot #1, that the house extended far enough (i.e. to be from such a high angle I thought it must have been a crane)...

2. 1:28:33-1:28:41. A zoom from the same window.

3. 1:59:36-2:00:18. A tilt, with a camera on a dolly, tracking forward, that can be raised (and lowered) just a few feet.

Sorry!

Regarding the long zoom. This is no WAVELENGTH. Actually, perhaps this could be classified under "other"? The shot begins as static, then zooms in a bit, remains still for a while, then continues to zoom further.

A brief note on the camera movement in general, a frequent use of the pan is done within tight confines, with the camera at the corner of 2 perpendicular hallways (inside the house), and follows a character as he/she approaches from the distance, turns the corner, then walks down the other hallway (so, due to movement of actor, shot scale turns from LS-CU-LS).


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